[OPE-L:3117] Re: red herrings, red herrings, red herrings

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 05:08:12 -0700 (PDT)

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Massimo wrote in [OPE-L:3116]:

> It is obvious that Marx was ASSUMING v = 0 and I don't understand
> what all the fuss is about!

Other than Andrew, you are the first one on the list to have said Marx was
assuming v = 0.

It is *not at all* obvious to me -- or many others -- that Marx was
assuming that v = 0. Please explain.

Where does Marx *state* that he is *assuming* v = 0. Please show me.
Andrew has not shown me anything yet to support that proposition.

Why the fuss? What are the implications of assuming v = 0, Massimo? To
begin with, if v = 0, there is no wage labor or capital. If v = 0, s/v =
s/0. If v = 0 there can be no accumulation of capital. If v = 0 we no make
no meaningful statements about capitalism (since capitalism could not
exist if v = 0) or Marx (since Marx did *not* assume v = 0).

The "fuss" is about the relation of theory to the assumptions made in
mathematical models. The "fuss" is about formalizations that express
absurdities. If we assume absurdities, then all results that follow are
absurdities and have no relevance except in the special case of a critique
of an absurd "theory" where either v = 0 is assumed or where that "theory"
includes a claim for the v = 0 case.

In OPE-L Solidarity,